Sumner breaks ground on new hospital - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sumner breaks ground on new hospital

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SUMNER (KWWL) -

One Bremer County town will soon have a brand new hospital.  Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner broke ground Monday for a new $19.6 million facility.  It will replace the current hospital, which is more than 60 years old.  The new hospital is looking to address the community's healthcare needs well into the future.

Community Memorial Hospital has a small emergency room and even tinier patient rooms.  There are no private patient restrooms, meaning three or four patients could be sharing one hall bathroom at a time.  There are several other concerns with the 60 year old building.

"Air handling issues, issues with privacy, wanting private rooms for our patients, trying to have easier traffic flow in the facility, and then to have access to the technology that an older facility does not allow for," said Mary Wells, Community Memorial Hospital CEO.

Soon, all those concerns will be wiped away, as the facility will be replaced with a brand new hospital, right next to the current one.  Over the past year, the community joined together, with a goal of raising the first $1.5 million needed to build a new hospital.  To date, $2.1 has been raised, with 100 percent of hospital employees pitching in.

"Hopefully it'll be for better medical care, not that what we have now isn't good enough.  But we want more, to attract more people both for employment and for using the clinic," said David Hennessey, Sumner resident and co-chair of the hospital's capital campaign.

That's just what the hospital is hoping for.  The new facility will be 20% larger than the current one and will offer patient services on one level.

"Looking to the future, we're putting in some shell space for increases in diagnostic equipment, such as an in-house MRI that's now provided by a mobile service.  We're building a specialty clinic so that more providers, such as specialists from surrounding communities, can come out and offer services as outreach," Wells said.

Construction will be getting underway soon.  The new hospital is set to see its first patients in early 2013.

In addition to private funds, the new hospital is being made possible through an $18 million loan from USDA Rural Development.

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